Monday, December 03, 2012

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the news that the U.S. birth rate is way down and how rightbloggers have reacted to it. Short version: This is Obama's fault, and Republicans will cure it with morality lectures.

93 comments:

  1. Another Kiwi1:05 AM

    I believe that it has been noted before but is worth repeating. The RW ingenuity put into getting a pity shag is staggering

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  2. Their continued faith that political ideology is a heritable trait like eye color or susceptibility to certain diseases is touching. Really.



    I'm living proof that this kind of breeding program often doesn't turn out the way the wingnuts hope -- out of six children of two Republican parents, only two became wingnuts themselves. And, boy, did they ever.

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  3. AGoodQuestion1:59 AM

    Your family didn't happen to have a liberal milkman, did you?

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  4. Spaghetti Lee2:00 AM

    The implicit assumption for the OMG-Scary-Muslims crowd is that Middle-Eastern culture is static-that it won't liberalize or change with the new generations who are as a matter of course less tied to their parents' grudges and battles. To a normal person that would be a safe assumption, but for a group of people stuck anywhere from 1968 to the 13th century, it's inconceivable.

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  5. AGoodQuestion2:05 AM

    Coherence on this issue seems to be at an all time low. The message seems to be "Have more babies. Unless your a Muslim. Or a member of the ACLU. Do you speak Spanish? Let me consult the Magic 8-Ball."

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  6. smut clyde2:06 AM

    A reduced birthrate seems perfectly rational now that you have out-sourced all the jobs. *Increasing* the birthrate is a classic Ponzi scheme.

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  7. RPorrofatto5:45 AM

    Excellent column as usual. But this seems to be to be a lot of hoohah about not much. The fertility rate (births per 1,000 women ages of 15 to 44), was 65.0 in 1976, and has hovered between that and 71.0 since 1970. The "all-time record low" that the screaming is about is 63.1, based on preliminary 2011 data (64.0 in 2010). So there were 1.9 fewer births per 1000 in 2011 than in 1976 (1.0 fewer in 2010). If I'm doing my math correctly, that's a rate difference of less than 2 tenths of one percent. The sky is not falling.*

    As your paragraph from the Pew Report indicates, it's patently obvious to anyone but Ross Douthat that the decline in birth rate since 2007 is almost entirely due to the precipitous decline in employment, wages, and financial security gifted us by the Wizards of Finance -- as is the decline in everything else except rising corporate profits, Wall St. bonuses, and the share of wealth enjoyed by our richest (and hopefully most fertile) members of society.

    *There's also been an even steeper decline in the past couple of years in the birth rate for teenagers -- everywhere except maybe where Don Surber lives: coincidence? -- so how come right bloggers aren't screaming about that?

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  8. mommadillo6:26 AM

    Republicans will cure it with morality lectures


    Because nothing gets me in the mood for some loving like being hectored about my duty to wealthy white people.

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  9. Back in 1942, Schumpeter predicted this decline would be a natural consequence of Capitalism:

    http://radamisto.blogspot.com/2011/07/schumpeter-capitalism-fats-and-focus-on.html

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  10. Doghouse Riley7:03 AM

    Clearly, we're not going to meet the challenges of the 21st century workplace using outmoded methods.

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  11. satch7:27 AM

    I'm sorry, but as God is my witness, I thought I was doing my duty to the Earth when I didn't have kids. Thanks to these rightbloggers, I see now how wrong and selfish I've been, and I only hope it's not too late to make amends. OK, YOU... S.E. Cupp... my room, 9:00 tonight. YOU... Monica Crowley... 9:30... and wear the boots. Megyn... you're on standby...

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  12. satch7:30 AM

    Lie back and think of America...

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  13. While "Red State fertility is not a hard fast rule," said RedState in 2006


    Other than that, how did you like the lay?
    ~

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  14. BigHank537:57 AM

    It's an article of faith among the GOP that supply-side economics works for everything.

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  15. redoubt8:04 AM

    Shorter shorter: "(White) Birthrates are down! Panic!"

    That this question continues to be asked, and continues to be answered, says more about them than they realize.

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  16. Halloween_Jack8:09 AM

    People having less kids because they can't afford them? Instead of depending on the welfare nanny state and swelling their numbers so that the 47% magically becomes a majority? Unpossible!

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  17. Halloween_Jack8:12 AM

    It's all in my latest stealth documentary, What the Butler-who-was-secretly-with-OWS Saw, adults only, 50p.

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  18. But this seems to be to be a lot of hoohah about not much.


    I see what you do there.
    ~

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  19. i would like to sell this comment some swampland in florida.

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  20. montag29:02 AM

    I just finished watching "The Queen of Versailles," and I doubt seriously that any one of David Siegel's seven kids by his latest wife will remember their younger years fondly.


    Fecundity is hardly an assurance that the world will remain rapaciously capitalist and Republican, if the Siegels have anything to do with it....

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  21. It's in discussions about birthrates that the inner neonazi of these guys really comes out. The rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of Stormfront: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children."

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  22. DocAmazing9:37 AM

    It's scarcely surprising that birthrates are down. The kind of circle jerk that Roy has here illustrated is not reproductively viable.

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  23. Ah, the "white 'Muricans are too self-absorbed these days, need to get back to poppin' out babies" meme. It's really one of the starkest examples of how much they hate modernity. It's well established that the more affluent, educated, and healthy (medically, I mean) a society is, the lower its birth rate is going to be. Race, religion, and culture have little to do with it. In fact if you look at wealthy families in impoverished countries, you tend to find the same thing: lower birth rates.* And indeed, as the immigrant populations in Europe assimilate, their birth rates begin to match the wider culture's birth rate, just as happened with the multitude of immigrant groups in the US (the "breeding like rats" bit of racist tripe used to be widely applied to Irish, Jews, Catholics, etc., etc., here in 'Murica).

    But these niceties are lost on conservatives. All they know is that back in the good ol' days when men were real men and women were real submissive, white folks were poppin' out babies. And we need to get back to them good ol' days, I tell you what.

    *The worst part is that the one place where conservatives do acknowledge this sociological rule of thumb, they get it wrong: lower-class American families. The stereotype about families on welfare having, like, eight kids is completely untrue. The average family on food stamps has three members, and that includes the parents. Presumably the widespread availability of (relatively) affordable condoms helps a lot. Not to mention that even insurance-less, emergency-only healthcare is marginally better than no healthcare at all.

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  24. GregMc9:58 AM

    There's been some seriously good TV on in the last few years, too. Mustn't overlook that.

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  25. Concern about the birthrate is pretty much exclusively for racists. So yeah, it's inevitably going to be "white people popping out babies good, brown people popping out babies bad." The lower down the socioeconomic ladder you get, the greater the chasm, ie, poor white families having a bunch of babies are fearless culture warriors shooting their baby arrows at the brown hordes, while poor brown families having a bunch of babies are shameless welfare leeches who are solely responsible for the recession, the deficit, and crime.

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  26. Yeah, in TV's more dismal seasons, you could go on a date, and a sentence like, "Hey, let's go back to my place and watch Sons of Tucson," was a clear signal that Sons of Tucson would (as usual) not be watched that night. Whereas these days, if you're on a date and you hear, "Let's go back to my place and watch Game of Thrones," you know damn well you're likelier to see Sean Bean's genitals than your date's.

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  27. The upside, by contrast, is that if your date says, "Let's go back to my place and watch Revolution," you know you're getting lucky.

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  28. RogerAiles10:49 AM

    I don't see the rightbloggers contributing much to population growth.

    I can confidently predict there will not be a Jim Hoft, Jnr.

    Glenn Reynolds hasn't been breeding in his doublewide for at least 18 years.


    Examples must be set if you expect the riff-raff to produce cannon fodder and Wal-Mart Associates.

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  29. bliekker10:50 AM

    Lie back and think of corporate America...

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  30. Mr. Wonderful10:58 AM

    To sum up:

    1. Blue states' birth rates are down, because hedonist, secular liberals are too busy enjoying the fruits of modernity to be bothered with having and raising children.

    2. Red states' birth rates are also down, because Obama's recession has denied the fruits of modernity to otherwise fertile, religious populations and made them too sad or insecure to have babies.

    3. However, red states' rates are higher than blue states', because the former are more pious. This will result in an emerging Republican majority which will vote in Republicans, rescue the economy by unleashing the genius of unfettered capitalism, and provide more of the fruits of modernity to everyone...

    4... thus encouraging hedonism and secular immorality, suppressing birth rates, and threatening the triumph of--

    5. --wild-eyed Islamic hordes from countries where there is no unfettered capitalism or fruits of modernity, and where baby-having masses are massively having babies because they're piously religious.

    I tehya, we can't win for losin'.

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  31. "All you right wing wimmin / Standin' in that lie-yun / I'll make love to you bay-buh / In three hour's time..."

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  32. Formerly_Nom_De_Plume11:13 AM

    I can confidently predict there will not be a Jim Hoft, Jnr.

    Ahem...

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  33. Don't talk to me and tell me the Pew
    You'll wear me out like a pair of shoes
    We'll rage all night until the Latino population - which tends to be more family oriented than any other group in society - goes red
    Then you're gone... yeah baby

    And, if it looks like Islamic love
    Should be a crime
    Nihilism, multicultural relativism, and self-doubt ain't pro-life
    So throw out the Foucault and getting to breeding
    With a smile on your face
    Thinkin' of Ross and Chunky Reese Witherspoon in her
    Leather and lace

    So please bang, please bang
    Because when we fill up the outlier exurbs in Ohio, she'll move
    I go crazy 'cause a society that either prevents or annihilates its own children today so that they won't be around tomorrow to take care of their annihilators,
    And that serves progressives right, though it is cold comfort to the rest of us
    Also, Hitler and Stalin
    read your history

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  34. Nothing is quite so deliciously incoherent as a conservative morality lecture. "Keep it in your pants, you heathens! Now, go do your patriotic duty and make babies!"

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  35. The germ theory of politics—their sop to Liberal Science.

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  36. JennOfArk12:07 PM

    I suggest that the freakout has more to do with their fear that, if the masses don't breed enough, the MOTU will run out of peasants to lord it over.
    The plaints about low birthrate have more to do with fear that a shrinking population won't be as easy to manipulate employment-wise. You can only get away with paying shit wages and treating your workers like dogs when you have fewer jobs than people looking for work. It took the Black Death to break the stranglehold of the feudal system in Europe, and, true to form, rightbloggers are taking their lessons from medieval history.
    Frankly, the last thing this country - or the world - needs is population growth. There are too many people already, and most of the problems we face globally would be much easier to solve if we adopted a goal of lowering world population to half the current level within the next hundred years. Lowering population in the developed nations (U.S. included) would do more to halt global warming and resource depletion than anything else, since we consume so much more energy and resources than people in developing and non-developed countries.
    Then again, I guess if you don't believe in global warming, or that we will ever run out of the oil reserves we rely upon to grow enough food to feed the current world population, this would not be of concern to you.

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  37. I dunno if the difference is liking the shows more, or just knowing that it'll be easy to finish watching them tomorrow or the next day, if you have cable or a computer. I briefly dated someone who was a serious Doctor Who fan, and on those nights we usually ended up watching about half of the show before other mutual interests took over... but if that were really our only chance to see it in the near future, we might have managed to stay dressed for at least an hour.

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  38. The conservative rules regarding sexytime are much like those regarding the samurai's use of his sword: once you unsheath that weapon you better be ready to spill bodily fluids with it - but only for the most noblest of purposes. Never is it to be used for frivolous or unauthorized reasons....

    ...unless it's about creating salacious stories that are contributing to the bottom line ad revenue and Fox News in business, then it's OK.

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  39. Fats Durston1:25 PM

    To get us out of these demographic doldrums, perhaps the U.S. could establish a reward for mothers with lots of babies. I dunno, call it the Honorable Cross of the American Mother. Maybe establish gradations: bronze for four white babies, silver for six, and gold for eight or more, I guess.

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  40. Not to mention that Ben Shapiro seems to be stuck in a perpetual "girls have cooties" phase.

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  41. Hard? No. Fast? Yes.

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  42. smut clyde1:59 PM

    I would like to say "God, win!" to this comment.

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  43. bourbaki2:01 PM

    Well they don't seem to care much about infant mortality rates so the growth has got to come from somewhere.

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  44. wileywitch2:42 PM

    Wouldn't "access denied" be more like an answer?

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  45. Haystack2:50 PM

    77.2% of all annihilated sperm would have voted Republican had they been allowed to live, but Nate Silver won't tell you that.

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  46. Halloween_Jack2:53 PM

    That's the advantage to dating a robosexual: multitasking.

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  47. wileywitch2:59 PM

    And the fear that the brown people have the same opinion of whites that racist whites have had of them and it could be the dominant view so that whites would become the "inferiors". The terror of tasting one's own medicine can be quite vivid when one is in the habit of dishing out poison.

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  48. Malignant Bouffant3:05 PM

    The Froggies have been doing this sort of thing since after WWI for quick replacement of all the young men killed in that one. No medal however, something useful: You get a card which gives you discounts on train fare.

    Used to be able to get a seat on the Paris subway w/ the card too, dunno if that still works.

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  49. BigHank533:44 PM

    You might want to go long on Kleenex and aftermarket keyboard futures, though.

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  50. aimai4:00 PM

    Limiting family size is the single most important thing a family can do to raise its standard of living in an industrial society. Children cost more than they bring in as workers. The capitalist imperative is pretty clear. Large families can continue to be functional when cadet branches don't have to split the same inheritance or can be set up in different countries and serve as branch banks/extensions of the family business. But any farm family knows the brutal imperative: only so many children as you can furnish with an inheritance. Infanticide, birth control, spacing of children, abandonment of children, exile, emigration--these are all the techniques of the premodern era.


    aimai

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  51. M. Krebs5:46 PM

    Perhaps a nice tax deduction for each and every child!

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  52. PulletSurprise6:08 PM

    Children cost more than they bring in as workers.

    Not if Newt Gingrich got to have his way with those verdammte child labor laws, right? A chicken in every pot and two-point-one kids per family pulling the freight for once.

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  53. You're more likely to see Bean's trachea.

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  54. Christopher6:24 PM

    Douthat: "The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion... It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future,"


    This is what confuses me about this fertility thing: Ross is the one privileging the present over the future, because the earth can only hold a finite number of people. I mean, even if science advances enough that we pave over the world with mile high arcologies and get all our nutrition from pills made out of recycled people, there's still the fact that there's still a finite amount of physical space on the planet and human beings can only be packed so densely.


    Any society that relies on a steady growth in human population is going to hit a point where it fails because it can't grow any further. This is not pessimism, it is a fact. Isn't it better to break out of that paradigm before they have to start moving people around with bulldozers like in Soylent Green?

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  55. JennOfArk6:26 PM

    At least as recently as 1986, the French still lived in fear of having their precious bodily fluids diluted by the dusky-hued hordes. When I was in Paris in '86, there were very prominent bus-stop posters all over the place featuring a cute (white) baby with the legend, "France besoin les enfants". If I've mangled that from memory, the meaning was, "France needs more white French babies."

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  56. Wait, they're not trying for a hate fuck? Because if they're going for pity, they're doing it wrong.

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  57. Well, in their defense, "trickle down" is fairly accurate when applied to infants.

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  58. it's should be obvious to thinking people not named Ross Douthat


    In your next draft, you might consider eliminating the redundancy in this passage.

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  59. Budbear6:49 PM

    O Lebensborn, o ,Lebensborn
    Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
    Du bist weiß nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
    Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
    O Lebensborn, o Lebensborn,
    Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

    Oh, how I love those holiday songs this time of the year.

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  60. Darkrose6:49 PM

    My "date" and I are both female. We're also slash fanfiction writers, so we'd be fine with seeing Sean Bean's genitals.

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  61. satch6:51 PM

    I've always wanted a pet human, and Douthat kinda looks like a Pug. Judging by his output at the Times, though, I'm doubting he can be paper trained.

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  62. "Are you ready to capture even more of my marginal productivity?" she inquired huskily.

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  63. aimai7:37 PM

    But they actually rocket back and forth between these two positions (as it were). Douthat actually approves the imaginary Messican migrants who bring their catholicism, their large families, and their presumed homophobia and work ethic (plus: low rates!) to the US. He mourns the fact that the second generation seems to lose all that and winds up voting for gay gay Obama and his contraceptive policies (good name for a band, I think). Meanwhile poor white trash in their double wides usually come in for contumely when Douthat realizes that these women, too, are having babies out of wedlock and are dependent on government assistance.


    Its like they've got some kind of colored plastic film they can apply to social reality that hides and reveals, hides and reveals. White women who get pregnant as teens, never get married, and take welfare are part of our general decay when contrasted to noble catholic matriarchs. Apply the blue film and they dissapear from the analysis. Apply the red film and they stand womb to womb with the duggars, "fearless culture warriors shooting their quiverful of baby arrows" as triplanatary rightly points out, against the muslim hordes.


    aimai

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  64. Sgaile-beairt7:41 PM

    how many kids does ol Crunchy have, anyway....??

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  65. aimai7:42 PM

    True story. We were in Paris on our honeymoon (17 years ago) and I had a broken toe. I got seats on the Metro and free entrance to the Louvre in a wheelchair and free entrance for my manservant (if you know what I mean) as "mutilee (accent there somewhere) de la guerre."

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  66. Leeds man8:45 PM

    Unbeknownst to them, the wingnuts are actually on to something. Those who pop out the most offspring are statistically more likely to pass on their genes in the nightmarish hellscape awaiting us all in the near future. That we're talking about political outcomes rather than survival is rather depressing, but also funny. Thank Christ I don't have kids.

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  67. XeckyGilchrist8:50 PM

    This, and it doesn't occur to them that if everyone were just nice to minorities, there wouldn't be any problem. Shitting-on is just what minorities are *for*, in the wingnut worldview.

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  68. whetstone8:55 PM

    " a society that either prevents or annihilates its own children today so that they won't be around tomorrow to take care of their annihilators"


    I am okay with this theory being promulgated, as long as we can call it The War on the Unejaculated.

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  69. Formerly_Nom_De_Plume9:22 PM

    You know who else loved those holiday songs this time of year?

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  70. parsec9:25 PM

    In days of old
    When knights were bold
    And in love not particular
    They'd line them up against the wall
    And screw them perpendicular!

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  71. parsec9:37 PM

    You were hors de combat from your service in the Force de Frappe?

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  72. montag210:13 PM

    This is why I'm not entirely convinced that the dominant influence here is white supremacy. Sure, a continuing supply of mouthbreathers is necessary for the survival of the Repugs as a political party, but that would occur even with lower birth rates. Paul Krugman said, several years ago (and almost as an aside), that GDP growth over the very, very long term almost perfectly tracked population growth. That would suggest that those invested in GDP growth probably understand that continuing population growth is absolutely necessary. The obsession with birth rates is much more likely to be a capitalist concern than a nativist one, no matter how that obsession is expressed.

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  73. Budbear10:19 PM

    Bing Crosby?

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  74. smut clyde1:23 AM

    Not enough ruling.

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  75. Spaghetti Lee2:19 AM

    "How about a little pillow talk, hon?"
    "You got it, big guy. Quarter 1, gross profit, $3.2 billion, net profit, $1.8 billion, net profit increase 5.3%, overhead cost decrease, 6.8%...."
    "Oh...oh...OH GOD!"

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  77. "Well, it'd certainly make chartered accountancy a much more interesting job."

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  78. I once had a fling with a libertarian. Does that count as a hate fuck? Or more of just a "let's just avoid the topic of politics and take off our clothes" fuck?

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  79. I'd have no problem with seeing Sean Bean's genitals either. But as Sean Bean is not in the room with me, he won't be having sex with me. Which is a shame, 'cause I would if he would.

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  80. If the government wasn't involved, and you made up contracts beforehand, you were fine.

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  81. satch2:46 PM

    There must be a difference between a pity fuck, a hate fuck, and a duty fuck.

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  82. Another Kiwi3:38 PM

    I heard that in John Cleese's voice. Pretty early MPFC?

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  83. Another Kiwi3:44 PM

    I can help with the Grant Application but I'll leave the research to others.

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  84. Another Kiwi3:45 PM

    Curse those liberal milkmen!

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  85. XeckyGilchrist5:11 PM

    You really gotta watch where you step when you're dealing with a DUTY fuck!


    /Wreck-it Ralph, rule 34 edition

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  86. BigHank537:58 PM

    Was it near your dad's rock quarry? 'Cause that's a-ok.

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  87. BigHank538:00 PM

    Megan?

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  88. If we're looking towards Soylent Green as template for a possible future, then Mr Douthat could probably find work as one of the less decorative and more functional pieces of "furniture"; say, a foot-stool. That just about squares with the thoughtfulness of his writing.

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  89. Eric Idle's voice, actually. Tax on "thingy."

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  90. Another Kiwi12:30 PM

    Now I remember, well played!

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  91. This will turn out well, because if (for the sake of argument) your problem is a shortage of babies, lecturing on the subject is the fastest, most effective way to eliminate the problem.

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